Over the past decade or so, the six-pack has become the holy grail of men’s fitness, adorning countless magazine covers and motivating millions of workout sessions.
The good news is that you don’t have to be like Patrick Bateman and do 1000 crunches each morning to get a six-pack. There are plenty of diverse and challenging ways of firing up your abs, while subtly working many other parts of your body as an added bonus.
The simple and effective workout below is designed to develop that all-important washboard stomach. But it won’t just make you look good: it will also increase your functional strength, rotational power, and muscular endurance at the same time. Everyone’s a winner.
Perform the workout once a week. It doesn’t require much time, so you can easily add it to the end of your normal workout.
Perform the following circuit three times over.
25 kettlebell swings
6 ab wheel rollouts
10 around the world’s (in each direction)
30 seconds flutter kicks
30 seconds T-stabilisation (side to side)
30 seconds Russian twists
One plank to failure
Once you’re comfortable doing three cycles, push yourself by moving up to four, then five repetitions.
The Kettlebell Swing
I’m sometimes asked if I could recommend just one exercise, what would it be. The kettlebell swing is my answer.
This is a fantastic exercise that helps generate power, burn fat, increase aerobic capacity and muscular endurance. Whilst not an abdominal isolation exercise (it actually works your hamstrings, glutes, quads, lower back and shoulders too), I’ve included it in this ab workout because it requires the abs to be in their natural, braced position. The movement places significant demand on your abdominal throughout the exercise.
Ab Wheel Rollouts
This is the most advanced exercise in the workout. The following day is rarely fun after a good set of ab wheel rollouts!
The difficulty is in the amount of movement you are able to achieve with good form whilst still being able to draw yourself back to the start position.
If you find yourself struggling to get completely flat, consider working on your laterals, which are required to be strong as your range of motion increases. Standing pulldowns on a lat pull machine are a good way to start.
Around The World
This is the second kettlebell exercise in the workout, which again works your abdominal from their natural braced position.
You’ve got to watch your form when doing this one: I’d suggest performing it in front of a mirror to make sure that your hips stay in line. You can expect a little sway back and forth if you are going heavy, but your overall structure must stay intact.
Incidentally, this exercise will also work muscles in your upper body including the lats and rhomboids.
Flutter kicks mimic the kind of kicking you would perform when swimming and provide a fantastic exercise for hitting those lower abs.
Developing strong lower abs will cultivate that washboard stomach aesthetic.They are tucked just behind the part of your stomach that is generally hardest to shift fat from, so spend time developing this area and as you lean up you’ll be pleased to see your muscles shine through.
I’ve included the T-stabilisation exercise in the workout to allow you to get a feel for how comfortable you are moving your weight from side to side.
The T- Stabiliser is a great exercise to develop your abs and obliques whilst enhancing your stability and balance.
I’ve included Russian twists in this workout to hit your obliques, which are the muscles to the side of your abdominals. Developing these muscles will give your torso a well rounded and muscular appearance.
On a functional level, Russian twists will help you develop rotational power, which will assist in sports such as boxing, golf, tennis and hockey.
The plank is the quintessential abdominal/core exercise. Any workout regime that left it out would be a little hollow.
You can make this exercise more challenging by moving from a straight arm position down onto your elbows and back up again, taking care not to allow your hips to move from side to side.
Planking to failure means holding the position until you can do so no longer.